It doesn`t take a serious news hound to realise that just about every news media outlet has made reports on “serious skill shortages”¯ in the mining sector. And if you haven`t already, soon you`ll hear about changes the Department of Immigration and Citizenship has made to the 457 visa.
The amendments to the 457 visa mean low skilled migrant workers previously barred entry into Australia will now be granted access to the Australian job market. The implication here is that mining companies now have permission to tap into overseas low skilled labour market.
Class 457 visas are beneficial
Now”¦ I`m guessing that at about this point, anyone hearing the news and who has yet to find work in the mines will be red faced and ready to explode. My advice is: Fear not! The implementation of these 457 visas and their various subclasses is actually a good thing. And not just for the mining companies.
457 Visas for Mining
If I was cynical about the whole thing I might say: “These migrants are taking away our jobs.”¯ The fact is they are simply filling positions we, as Australians, can`t fill ourselves. Failing that I might add, “Lots of them won`t speak English very well. How are they supposed to get along?”¯
That won`t be an issue; migrant workers must meet prescribed English language ability, so we can check that one off the argument list. As for the cheap labour row, fact is 457 visa holders must be paid at least as well as an Australian doing the same job, so there goes that angle.
New Mining Projects
Here`s another fact to digest with your morning breakfast: There is $280 billion (That`s billion not million) of new investment planned for resource projects ““ this is projected to lead to a shortage of 36 000 tradespeople by 2015.
The effect will extend further than the outback of Western Australia and Queensland and lead right into our major cities as workers are attracted to jobs in mining. This means there will simply not be enough Australian workers to get the job done.
Bear with me for a moment longer and will get to the good bit shortly.
If you have been paying close attention you will have noticed that we are talking about future projects here. If you don`t have your mining job now, you will have in the future because here is the good news. There will be many jobs to go around. Also know that the granting of a 457 visas is subject to some rules, which will include:
- Evidence that there are genuine skills shortages in the local area
- Training measures to reduce the reliance on overseas workers
- Increase the skills of the Australian workforce
- Demonstrated efforts to use Australian workers first
Notice the last one? This is you”¦the Australian who has first dibs on jobs. Now all you have to do is properly prepare yourself, get the right training and build your mining knowledge.